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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Rollercoaster.....

So, we all know that IF is a rollercoaster and I have definitely paid my ticket and am back on the ride right now.

When I went out to the market on Saturday with my Mum and two sisters, everything annoyed me. Firstly, when we went to pick up my younger sister, I had to drag a massage table into their house for them, I wouldn’t have dreamed of her having to pick it up herself but it brought it sharply into focus, she is pregnant and I am not, when all going well, I should have been.

Then in the car she told of her boyfriends friends. My sister and her boyfriend were very concerned about telling some friends of his about their pregnancy because this friend couple had been trying for two years. Luckily, it all turned out well because when her boyfriend told his friends that they were having a baby, so the couple had found out they were too! Yay! Once again, annoyed the shit out of me, not because of the story, I am glad that these people who have struggled did not have to hear about a couple who ‘accidentally’ got pregnant but I was just annoyed because I think the story was told as a parable ‘good things come to those who wait’.

Then when we were at the market, we were discussing the horrible case here in Melbourne when a couple had made the heart wrenching decision that they would abort a sick twin at 32 weeks (heart defects) and the hospital terminated the wrong baby, so neither of the babies survived (I have too much to say about this but will not in this post, I may in another but it really is just too horrible to contemplate). My older sister made the comment that ‘she thought of me when she heard about this because I ‘could have had one of these babies’. I was pretty affronted by this, I don’t really know how I feel about her thinking that – I know that it came from a place of love but it was just so wrong!!

Then at breakfast, my younger sister told the story of how she told a few of her friends (who have actually become my friends as well over the years) about the pregnancy. She invited them over to make the announcement. It was a nice story and everyone was over the moon for her, which was really lovely. The thing that really pissed me off though was that in the past, I would have been invited to it and been able to share the joy. I don’t blame her for it, honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted me there either – I am a black freaking cloud and if she invited me, I probably wouldn’t have come. She is damned if she does invite me and damned if she doesn’t – I am not angry with her, she was between a rock and a hard place. What I was angry about is IF. It bloody shits me that people have to tip toe around me. It makes me want to scream that people think that I would want to take a baby, any baby. It makes me really sad that I am excluded from the joy. It makes me furious that I am seen as a cautionary tale (better get on to trying really quick, you don’t want to end up like JourneyGirl) and I want to tear my hair out to be seen as ‘the deformed girl who should be pitied’ – ‘shhh, don’t talk about the babies, she might cry (though then if I do cry, I get in trouble for not being happy for the person – I am also damned if I do and damned if I don’t).

It is very hard to be told that you are ‘becoming bitter’ – I challenge anyone to go through this and not have some measure of bitterness. It is very hard to be told ‘they are your issues’ when you absolutely realise that they are your issues but really only wanted to rail against the situation that you have found yourself in, not wanting solutions or advice but just an empathetic, open ear. It is agonisingly hurtful to be told that ‘you need to get over it’ or that ‘you need to prepare yourself that JBB might be your only child’ and that it ‘wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world’.

I didn’t ask to be put in this situation. I did not ask to have a physical deformity when I was born. I didn’t ask to be in pain nearly every day. I didn’t ask to not be able to respond to the IVF drugs. I didn’t ask for my eggs to be crap. I didn’t ask for any of these things but I haven’t hesitated in taking responsibility for it. I have picked myself up from every failed cycle. I have had operation after operation to see if I could improve my chances of having a family. I let nothing stop me in achieving my goal of having a child. I am proud that I was able to find a way that we could have our beautiful boy. I have relished joyously in every moment that he has been in our lives.

It makes me hate myself to whinge all the time and I think back to before IF and wonder – how different has this made me? How different has it made others toward me? Would I be happier or would I be less appreciative of what I have? Would I have more friends? Would JBB and I be in a mothers group? Would I be sweating more of the small stuff (uh oh, JBB has only 10 words in his vocabulary, shouldn’t he have 11?), would I have had a worry free pregnancy? Would I get invited to things again? Would I actually want to leave the house? Would we actually be in a house instead of a 2 bedroom unit? Would JourneyMan’s and my relationship be as strong?

I know that I would have been more involved in my friend’s children’s lives – as it is, I am in full shut down mode and have certainly decided the at for the next four weeks, I will only be seeing people out of absolute necessity. No work Christmas parties, no Christmas dinner with my girl friends, no more going to the market on Saturday with my Mum and sisters. I know that it is childish and weak but I am honestly done with any comments, regardless of how nice or ‘for my own good’ they are. Honestly, if anyone tells me to get over it or think positive or that it will all work out as it is meant to, I am fully going to freaking lose it.

I started spotting yesterday and panicked. Once again I thought that the whole thing was over, there was no chance of going in December. This also made me realise that all of the incidents beforehand that were pissing me off and making me angry was my old friend PMS. Then later on in the night, I remembered that the Melbourne FS said that there could be some breakthrough bleeding and that it would be okay, so I felt a bit better.

This morning I woke up and the cramps were way worse than normal, I took heaps of tablets to make sure I could get through the day (and thus felt guilty because I am putting extra chemicals in my body when I am trying to clear it all out for the cycle that might not exist **sigh**). Following the cramps came more spotting and more doubt about whether I would be able to go in December. If the spotting gets worse tomorrow, I am going to call my FS, I have been trawling Dr Google for solutions and want to run some by my FS (I will hear him rolling his eyes over the phone).
For the moment, I am hopeful but am sure the doubt will come back in 10 mins.

Two weeks until I find out whether the cycle is a go or not, another freaking 2WW.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Bloody guilt.

I really hope that I get to do the cycle in December but I have lost a lot of the desperation that I had earlier in the week.  I was forced to look at the worst that could happen (ie. Cycle cancelled and we have to delay for a couple of months) and had accepted it by the time I spoke to my Melbourne Fertility Specialist.    There are many reasons that I hope that I can get to do the cycle in December and most of them are the usual, to give our delightful JBB a sibling, to get it over and done with, to get me closer to having a resolution of the cramp issue, to be done with IF once and for but there is a totally, selfish reason that I want to go in December and I hope that you won’t judge me because I already feel guilty about it.
I will miss JBB, JourneyMan and JourneyDog who is Woolly hugely while I am away – that goes without saying but I tell you, I am actually looking forward to having a break. I am absolutely exhausted at the moment, at any chance, I fall asleep on the couch or basically wherever and I have never been one for doing that. I have travelled many times before on my own and I am comfortable with it but it will be very strange to be without my boys especially over new years.

But I feel guilty, very guilty for wanting this break and it is hard not to think that I am being a selfish cow for wanting to sleep in. That is my main need really, sleep. I feel a lot that the people in my life really don't really realize how much of a toll a cycle takes, mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. Most days I am in constant pain, which in itself is exhausting but add in all of the things that I do for a cycle, then add in the financial pressure, the hormones coursing through my body, the constant worry about whether it will be successful or not, the effort it takes to try to be the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend going around, to do my job sstisfactorially and generally not more that 6-7 hours of good quality sleep per night and you have a recipe of one tired woman.

I know that this describes most mothers out there, we all have too much on our plate and not enough hours to achieve it.

The thought of sleeping in for the time that I will be away is very seductive. I may even be able to have a disco nap by the pool. I am trying to be kinder to myself but honestly, am I the worst mother / wife in the world to be looking forward to all of that beautiful sleep?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good news, bad news (Welcome ICLW!!)

Firstly, welcome to ICLWers – I am very pleased that you have stopped by! As a quick recap on my story. My husband and I met 6 years ago and were married in 2007. We knew from the outset that we would need intervention to have children as he had had a vasectomy. What we didn’t know was that I have a congenital deformity, unicornuate uterus (in essence there are two and they are non-communicating) as well as only one kidney. I also have a blood clotting disorder call factor V leiden and as we also found out, am a poor responder to IVF stim drugs. We had 5 failed fresh cycles of IVF until we decided to ditch my eggs and go to Thailand to have a donor cycle with a Thai woman’s eggs (we love her!!). Thankfully our first donor cycle was a great success and we have a beautiful 15month old boy thanks to the Thailand 1 cycle. In October this year we went to Thailand again (Thailand 2) to see if we could get a sister or a brother for our darling boy (using the same donor) but the cycle was negative BUT we did get 5 gorgeous frozen embryo’s so the intention is for me to go back to Thailand in late December to try a FET (Thailand 2.1) and that is where the drama is right now!!!

Okay, so yesterday I left you in despair. My period had not come, I was waiting for the Thailand doctor to get back to me with a course of action and I had basically started to accept that our Thailand 2.1 cycle was just not going to happen in late December. I finally heard back from the clinic and basically all it said was ‘that sounds strange, please see your local doctor’. I called my Melbourne Fertility Specialist and his secretary said that he would call me back after he had finished consulting for the day. Sure enough, he called me back and I filled him in on the situation. He basically (not in these words) told me that I was carrying on about nothing and that sometimes a period doesn’t come when you are on the pill because apparently the lining can be so thin, there is nothing to shed – okay. He said that I should start back on the BCP and continue with the schedule. He said that I needed a different kind of pill so that it would build up the lining so that it would shed next time. He asked all about the protocol that I was doing and I told him and then he said that to be 100% sure I could book in to see him before I am due to start the Progynova and he can check my lining to make sure everything is okay.

He was soooooo reassuring that he even said to me that I most likely wouldn’t need to come and see him, I could just trust that everything would be okay. I said ‘please, of course, I am going to come and see you, how long have you known me for – I need to be as sure as possible!!’. So I am feeling much better today. Despite the fact that the cycle could still be cancelled on the 14th December when I go to see him, I will be confident that it is going to be cancelled for a very valid reason and that the cycle will probably not have worked anyway. However, if he does give the go ahead, I will go to Thailand more confident than I have ever had before. Both times previously, I had no monitoring in Melbourne so it was always a ‘suck it and see’ situation when we first got to the clinic.

Whilst the news is not all good – I mean how can ‘wait and see’ be classed as good news, waiting is never freaking good news in my book - I feel very confident now that we have a workable plan. I am calmed by the fact that my Melbourne Fertility Specialist has now entered the fray because now I can have some certainty that everything is going well before I even get on the plan (if I get to!!).

So, I am back hoping that December is going to be Thailand 2.1 but I am also in the frame of mind that if it gets cancelled in mid-December, there will be a damn good reason.

Going through the past few weeks has made me realise how lucky I am. I have honestly, the best Fertility Specialist in Melbourne (perhaps the world), I have an amazing support group around me, JourneyMan is my rock and refused to panic despite me being in a flap for the past 3 days, my bestie listens to the crap that I spew out ad nauseam and my family all offered to help babysit in shifts if we need to delay the cycle and JourneyMan had to go back to work.

Of course, lastly but not least, I have all of my friends out there in blogland – thank you to all of you who have commented and offered words of support over the past few weeks (old friends and new!!), each and everyone has helped in their own little way.

So, on we go…….

Monday, November 21, 2011

My two most hated things….

Firstly, thanks very much to Summer and Sue for your comments – they have been a balm over the past 24 hours.

I have never been a patient person. I am more the ‘bull at a gate’ variety. I like to make things happen. My Mum and Dad often tell a story of when I was around 6 years old when we were on holiday. We were on a jetty and my older brother (who would have been about 9) and sister (who would have been about 11) were debating between them about whether to jump off into the river (Mum and Dad were there supervising and were all competent swimmers). Whilst they were trying to talk each other into jumping in, I took a run up and jumped in and had a ball swimming around – no-one could believe it. Not much has changed, I like to jump in.

There are consequences of being the ‘jump in’ type person and that is that mistakes are often made. Mistakes I am okay with though because usually I learn a lot and move on.

I know that I am responsible for my life and I am happy to take responsibility for it but what drives me insane more than anything else is waiting. Coming a close second however, is feeling completely out of control of my own destiny.

4 long years of IF has not taught me patience nor to deal with the feeling of being out of control though I have usually found ways to cope which is distraction, distraction, distraction. I research constantly, I try every natural remedy under the sun (I have been eating clay but that is whole other post), I count absolutely everything, then count it again and then recount it, I write this blog, I think about things constantly and then make calculations in my head, I create spreadsheets and lists and schedules, then change them and change them again.

At the moment, I am in a hell of my own body’s making. The period is determinedly staying away and no matter how many times I calculate the numbers in my head, nothing adds up to a transfer on January 1st, 2012. I have sent another email to the clinic to see what they think about the situation and what will now have to be done but they are 4 hours behind so I am waiting and I really, truly, honestly, do not know what the hell is going to happen. Of course the most likely cause of action is delay but then I think – what about if my cycle is delayed again next time? What if they factor in the delay and then it comes on time and here is my favourite thought, what if there is something seriously wrong?

I know that most people will go ‘big deal, so there is a delay?’ Yeah, I know that it is not such a big deal but I will have to change my flights and accommodation and we will have to sort out care for JBB since it will likely be when JourneyMan has gone back to work. On top of that I will have to then continue all of my therapies for longer (which is bloody exhausting) and even more so, the longer it takes for me to get pregnant, the longer I have to live with the pain of these cramps day after day (very selfish I know but the pain is absolutely exhausting).

So, here I am, sitting and waiting and unable to control my own destiny.

IF sucks balls.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cycle SOS

I am totally freaking out.

As you know from my previous post, I am on a schedule for a FET on New Years Day. I am finished round 1 of the birth control pill last Sunday the 13th and my period was supposed to come 4 days later, which was Thursday - it is now Sunday and it is still not here. What the hell?!?! I have always been very regular, spot on a 28 day cycle and now things have gone completely awry. My last cycle in Thailand saw my period come 2 days later than normal but my lining was still pretty good by the time that we were over there. The biggest concern that I have is that this has not happened before, so what is the reason that it is happening now, that is a very scary thing to ask.

I feel in completely unchartered territory and I don't know at all what this means. I sent an email through to the doctor and he said that I should wait 1-2 days but not to start taking round two of the BCP until he let me know, he is going to do a new schedule for me.

I am hugely angry because of course my body is not doing what it is supposed to be doing and maybe I am doing something that it is causing it to go awry. I already feel like a huge failure because I was the one that let the team down on the last cycle, after all, JourneyMan's sample was obviously good, the donor gave a record number of eggs and we got 6 beautiful blastocycsts but of course the woman with the deformed body once again was not up to scratch.

I don't know how they are going to make the schedule fit in with the current timeframe for when I am in Thailand so of course that will mean that I will most likely have to cancel and re-book everything. It will also not likely fit in with our holiday leave which means I will need to take more time off and not get paid for it and JourneyMan will have to go back to work and we will need to find someone to babysit for JBB while I am away.

I suppose not a big deal but very selfishly, I would really, really like this to work and be over with, every day that it is delayed, I have to live with the pain of the cramps, which practically spoilt JourneyMan's and my date night last night - JBB stayed at my Mum and Dad'd for the night, on a night when I wanted to be able to catch up on a thousand lost hours sleep, I couldn't get to sleep until after 1am due to the pain.

The worst part of it is not knowing what will happen next, I bloody hate being in this position, it is so damn frustrating. I am really in limbo until my period comes and the doctor gets back to me with what to do. Sorry to dump all of this out there - I am very, very worried.

Does anyone know what happens in these situations when the period is late - is the FET just delayed or what? Any info would be gratefully accepted.
Does anyone have any idea of what happens normally in these situations=

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thailand 2.1

So, I am finally ready to talk about our upcoming FET cycle in Thailand. Firstly, let me just say that I have never done a FET before as we have never had anything for the freezer so that in itself is something new and different. In terms of protocol though, it is not much different that doing the fresh donor cycle except for the fact that I don’t have to be synched up with the donor.

It all happened in quite a rush because originally we were going away on Boxing Day (26th Dec) for our family holiday and we realised that it was going to be costing us about $3,000 for that holiday. When I did the sums of what it would cost for a FET in Thailand if only I went (we had already agreed that we didn’t really want to drag JBB over there for another time – he was pretty exhausted after we got back this time) and it came up at $5000 so it was a no brainer to cancel our holiday and organise the cycle for December (thank you IF for taking away our family holiday!).

The other convincing factor was that both JourneyMan and I already had time off work as well because our companies close down for a couple of weeks over Christmas. This meant that I wouldn’t have to take another week off work down the track (which is good because I am a contractor and don’t get paid for any leave) and that JourneyMan would be home to look after JBB for the whole time that I am away (if I was to go in March as we had previously planned, we would have needed some babysitting help so this works out much better).

All of these decisions were really made within the weekend after we got back from Thailand and then also found out that my sister was pregnant. I think people suspected that we were doing it so quickly because of her news but it really had nothing to do with it, it was really the perfect timing.

So, that being said – I have booked my flights and accommodation. I am staying a little closer to the clinic this time as the hotel was a little cheaper and I am flying out on 27 December at 12:30am and I get in to Bangkok at 5:40am. I will go to the clinic that morning for blood tests and scans. Here is my timetable:

24 October – start taking the birth control pill (and Clexane of course)
13 November – stop taking the BCP
17 November – AF due (yes today and of course not turned up – grrrf!!)
20 November – start taking BCP again (and Clexane)
10 December – stop taking BCP
14 December – AF due
15 December – Start taking progynova 3 x per day
27 December – Blood test and scan / start Crinone
1 January – Transfer
3 January – Fly home
11 January – Pregnancy test

It has been very strange to start preparations for this cycle when I wasn’t really over the last failed one. I have gotten there now though and my daily schedule of all my different preparations have been going very well.

I now feel in a pretty good place about this cycle – I feel like I am doing my absolute best to make it successful. I really, really hope that it will be.

Not long to go now, only 42 days.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cramps and such

Honestly, the past couple of weeks have been tough. The cramps are back and they are back with a vengeance. They never really went away, I think I was just managing them because I was hoping that the cycle in Thailand was going to be successful and so I would have an end date on when I could get this fixed. It was so bad a couple of weeks ago, I almost went to emergency at the hospital. Basically, I am getting the bad ‘period’ type pains 3 weeks out of every month now – it is bloody hard to take, I tell you.

Unfortunately there is nothing that I can really do about them – as my fertility specialist has said, once I am done having kids, he then would recommend that I have a hysterectomy. This seems like a pretty big deal and at times when the cramps aren’t that bad, I wonder if it is worthwhile taking such a drastic step. However, the pain over the past couple of weeks has been convincing me otherwise. It is absolutely exhausting to be dealing with this pain constantly and despite my never ending search to find natural remedies that will help it, I have not found anything as yet.

It was definitely one of the reasons that I was so disappointed about the cycle failing – it leaves me once again with cramps for an indefinite amount of time.

It has been an interesting few weeks. We went away for a weekend with my family and it was a pretty nice time – we stayed on the Gippsland coast of Victoria and the place that we stayed at was amazing. JBB especially had a wonderful time with his cousins and all of the space that he had to explore.

It is interesting how easily it is to fall back into the IF mindset. I, once again, felt like I was behind a glass wall. I am reluctant to talk to most people (JourneyMan and my bestie being the exceptions of course) about going to Thailand again in December – I can’t help but think that I would prefer people didn’t know if I failed again. I am of course obsessed with the trip on the inside but for the most part, I am keeping to myself and not announcing it to the world like I did last time.

In other news, JourneyMan and I are doing a 5 day sugar detox – we are on day 2 and boy, it is pretty tough – I am absolutely exhausted though I don’t know if the exhaustion is related to the cramping, detox, raising a full on 14 month old toddler, working and planning another trip – perhaps all of them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pre-Cycle Regime

This is mainly for Sue as I have been promising it to her for ages (sorry it’s taken so long!!) but I thought I would document it as others may find it useful!! This is what I do in preparation for each cycle (and of course, I loves me a bulleted lists so that is how it is going to roll!!):

Eating (please note that the below eating plan is what I aspire to every day, some days I get there, some days I don’t, some days I spectacularly don’t):

• At least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day – organic if possible, if not, rinse thoroughly. I actually find that I usually have more than this (as I shred up lots of different vegies and put them into casseroles & soups) and also have a smoothie for breakfast each day). I like to make sure that I pick a variety of different coloured vegies for maximum vitamins & minerals
• For breakky, I make a smoothie that has a couple of fruits in it plus I put in a probiotic, extra fibre, full fat organic yoghurt and some ground nuts (for protein) – sometimes I will chuck in some finely ground oats to make it more filling.
• 1-2 serves of lean red meat per week – organic where possible.
• 1-2 serves of fish per week – though going for the low mercury type fish, like salmon and canned tune etc. However, I will sometimes indulge in a yummy piece of flake
• Always go for whole grain carbs: brown rice, wholegrain bread etc
• I try to stay away from the sweet things and saturated fats but sometimes I will heed their call (too often of late but I am trying to reel myself in)

Exercise (once again, this is aspirational, I have not been going very well with this of late but I am working on it):

• Cardio – 30-60 mins of cardio per day, I try to walk but I think I am going to start the coolrunnings couch to 5K running plan before I go in December.
• Yoga - - I try to do these poses each day – morning and night would be good but it is dependent on time of course
• Strength – 3 times per week of body strengthening – I used to have a gym program but I think that Journeyman and I are going to put our own ‘at home’ program together.

Household / Personal care:

• I don’t use harsh cleaners – buy natural or even put together your own cleaning products – this site is a good resource:
• Have a fertility oil blend burning – I use: Lavender, Sweet Fennel, & Clary Sage (I also with put some of this in the bath)
• Put some indoor plants around your house (not in your bedroom) – this is to naturally filter the air in your house – some good ones are: Bamboo Palm, Peace Lily & Lady Palm
• I only use a tea tree oil based deodorant – it by a company called Thursday Plantation and they specialise in all things tea tree.

Additional therapies:

• Weekly acupuncture – I go to a woman who specialises in fertility and complimenting IF treatments
• Twice daily chinese herbs – these are in powdered variety (or ass herbs as Elphaba calls them)
• Skin brushing daily – this is to allow the toxins to be excreted from your skin with ease (it also makes your skin feel really nice!)
• Weekly Epsom salt bath (helps to encourage detoxification)
• Weekly bentonite clay bath (helps to draw heavy metals and other toxic substances from your body) – this is something that I am starting for this cycle
• 3-4 times per week castor oil packs (great to increase circulation to the uterus as well as aid in detoxification)
• Fertility tea – My mix is made up of: Red clover (rich in B vitamins, calcium and protein and help detoxify the blood), Raspberry Leaf Tea (contains vitamins C and E, calcium and iron and helps to tone the muscles of the uterus), Stinging Nettles (has high levels of chlorophyll and many vitamins and minerals – it also strengthens the kidneys) and peppermint tea – mainly for the flavour!! I bring this overnight and drink about 1 litre of this per day.
• Crytals – I have a few crystals for fertility, my main ones being: Shiva Linghams, Moonstone, Rose quartz and Rhodonite
• Subliminal / hypnosis / visualisation – I was using another brand on the last couple of cycles and now I am giving Circle + Bloom a go each night as I fall asleep
• Every second night – foot detox pad – these have chinese herbs in them and they are a gentle detox for the body
• Mind map – I have a collage that I made years ago (that I have stuck up in the toilet so that I see it every day) of thing that I want in my life. Some of the baby related pics I have are: a pic of a pregnant belly, a foetus, a nursery, a baby. It is good to always see what I am aiming for.
• Naturopathy herbs – this is something new that I am adding and I am waiting for them to come in the mail so I don’t really know what is entailed in this yet


• Pregnancy / prenatal vitamin
• Fish oil
• Calcium
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Evening Primrose oil
• Vitamin C
• Vitex / Chasteberry
• Magnesium (though I take this more for cramps)
• CoQ10
• Dong Quai
• Ginseng
• B Complex
• Beta carotene

So this is pretty much it - sometimes I find something else and put it in or I will drop something off (the castor oil pack I think is very beneficial but it is a serious pain in my very large behind!!).

I hope I haven't bored you too much! Looking at it, it makes me realise why I don't have much time on my hands.